Numbers shed light on IRS taxpaying process

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

You've got an extra weekend to pay your taxes this year, provided you have to pay.

April 15 is the traditional tax day, but Friday is Emancipation Day in Washington D.C., so IRS employees get the day off.

Most of us wish taxpayers could have an Emancipation Day of our own.

WalletHub.com collected some interesting numbers to ponder as the deadline approaches.

Some $3.3 trillion is collected from people who "voluntarily" pay their federal taxes, but it costs the IRS 35 cents to collect every $100 in federal revenue, some $50 billion to $60 billion in enforcement activities.

Have a question for the IRS? Better allow 30.5 minutes for the phone to be answered if it's answered at all -- nearly two-thirds of them weren't -- and it took an average of 47.6 minutes for tax practitioners to get an answer, 22.8 percent shorter than the year before.

If you haven't started preparing your taxes, you'd better get started; the average American takes 16 hours in 1040 preparation. Sixty percent of us get professional help, for which we pay an average of $270.

How do we like preparing our tax return?

Twenty-seven percent of us would rather get IRS tattoo than pay taxes for life; 11 percent would rather clean Chipotle's toilets for three years, 35 percent would rather discuss sex with their kids and 13 percent would rather spend the night in jail.

Eighty-six percent of us agree that the IRS is necessary but most say it needs work.

The average tax refund is $2,945, and most are filed electronically and direct-deposited into banking accounts within 21 days or less.

We hope you're honest and careful with your return, but you have only a 0.8 percent chance of being audited by the IRS, thanks to a 23 percent decrease in IRS enforcement staff since 2010.

If you feel like you're being robbed by the IRS consider this: there was a 700 percent increase in taxpayer identity theft cases since 2010 and those cases involved $25.6 billion in tax refunds, but the IRS prevented 88 percent of the cases of attempted fraud.

If you run afoul of the IRS, you're in good company; notables in various levels of trouble include Al Capone, Spiro T. Agnew, Pete Rose, O.J. Simpson, Lindsay Lohan, R Kelley and Nicolas Cage.

If you wonder why it is so difficult to correctly file your return, this may provide a clue: the tax code is more than twice the length of the five "Game of Thrones" books combined.

Ted Cruz has made abolition of the IRS a major plank in his campaign platform, and Donald Trump has called for a radical simplification of the system.

If election day were rescheduled to the day after the tax deadline, either one of them might be a shoo-in.

See the original Wallet Hub report at http://bit.ly/1Sdn9wV

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